The journey of Copia started back in 2013 with a simple question: How do you get goods to people who live in rural areas and whose only access to shopping is a general store or vendor in the nearest village? In fact, there are three billion middle and low-income consumers at the base of the economic pyramid in the developing world.
The typical Copia´s customer lives in areas where access to supermarkets and other formal retail is not available. In the most rural and poorest parts of the world, mobile technologies has enabled a Copia business model to succeed. The goal is to make living easier – everyday by delivering underserved consumers the choice and convenience through a network of digitally enabled Agents located close to their home.
The concept is very simple. The shopkeepers share the Copia e-catalog with their customers and receive a commission on every sale made via the company’s app. Copia trucks then deliver orders to the shops within 48 hours for customer pickup.
Copia supplies products and services to “Base of the Pyramid” (BoP) consumers. Through a combination of technology, local agents, efficient delivery strategies, a broad and affordable product offering, and reliable services, Copia enables households to access goods that would otherwise be difficult to obtain without travelling to a major city.
Serving a market of three billion middle and
In addition, Copia provides the small shopkeepers with an electronic tablet loaded with the Copia app, a simple Amazon-like e-commerce experience that provides BoP consumers with easy, convenient access to affordable, quality goods. Through Copia, customers not only get what they need delivered, they learn about new products and stay connected.
The company has shown a dramatic growth over the past few years since its launch in 2013 with 20 agents. By January 2016, Copia closed on $4 million of equity capital to enable the company to grow at the rate of 50 new villages per month. The company now works with over 3,000 agents, counts some 40,000 customers, and executes over 80,000 orders a month.
Goodwell Investments has also recently acquired a share in Copia, as the investment company sees great potential for the start-up to expand in Kenya and other emerging rural markets across Africa and beyond. Copia’s total addressable market could comprise several emerging markets in sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and Asia as well that represent a potential purchasing power of over $5 trillion a year.